Wanting it, wanting it, wanting it: 1960s pin-up of a cotton candy-haired Jayne Mansfield
I begged. I cajoled. I wheedled. I even pouted. And now finally I was able to shamelessly jump on Ophelia Bitz's bandwagon! It was my pleasure to DJ at the big finale of ArtWank!’s residency at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern. To anyone who’s not au fait, ArtWank! is vivacious cabaret starlet Ophelia Bitz’s brilliant and raunchy club night centring on screenings of her vast collection of mostly 1920s vintage stag films (think grainy, flickering black and white porn starring long-dead people).
Porno Diva Ophelia Bitz gets a grip on herself: She's a bad, BAD girl. Do not encourage her! (Photo by Tom Medwell)
In the early 1970s when porn flicks bubbled up from the warm, fetid squalor of the underground and started grossing serious money, it became a titillating, tantalising taboo-thrill for the chattering classes to go see the likes of Linda Lovelace in Deep Throat or Marilyn Chambers in Behind the Green Door at their local dirty movie sleaze pit. This pop culture phenomenon was called “porn chic” and was ultimately short-lived. Ophelia (who, of course, regularly emcees at Dr Sketchy – that’s how I know her in the first place) is on a one-woman mission to rehabilitate the porn chic concept and make porn-viewing a fun, communal, boozy, post-feminist and “sex positive” experience (as opposed to a solitary, furtive one in front of your lap top, PC or DVD player. With a box of Kleenex and some moisturiser. I assume). Assisted by her trusty assistant Le Porn Ferret on the laptop, Ophelia also frequently spices up proceedings with live onstage burlesque performances and musical acts. Anyway, trust me: ArtWank! is porn-tacular! It’s porn-tastic!
So I leapt at the opportunity to DJ on Ophelia's last night at The RVT (her ArtWank! residency this time was 19 January – 9 February). I was accompanied by my friends Mia (I call her Mayan Ruin; she was born in Guatemala) and Dan. The night was a blast, transporting you back to a decadent Jazz Age velvet-lined Parisian brothel (most of Ophelia’s erotica is French, but considering they’re silent movies anyway it doesn’t really matter).
A sampling of the cornucopia of filth you can expect to see at ArtWank! (How this escaped Youtube’s censors I’ll never know. Enjoy it while you can!).
The guest musical performer was crotch-thrusting, ass-shaking, spandex-clad cock rocker Damn Fluid. His back story is that he’s the former lead singer of the glam/Heavy Metal band Ramshaft who’s now hit hard times. Recall the full horror of 1980s hair metal or poodle metal, as it used to be called (Damn Fluid himself sports a crimped, exploding fright wig on his head, a symphony of split ends). His Facebook page says Damn Fluid’s act “captures the ambiance of a last-call rock band at a 1980s East Berlin brothel” and it’s not wrong. He had me from his explosive opening number “Daddy Fuck Machine”(in which he roars, “Slap my face / I’m super keen / I’m your daddy fuck machine!”), after which he announced solemnly in a Welsh accent, “I’d like to dedicate that song to me Gran.”
My set lasted about an hour, so it was a short intense burst (ejaculation?) of vintage sleaze. Gratifyingly, most of the crowd stuck around to continue drinking and listening to the music instead of getting their coats and splitting right away, and the gracious Ms Bitz kept me topped up with beer. It was mostly frantic Las Vegas Grind tittyshakers a go-go, but I also worked-in some rockabilly (Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Ricky Nelson, Elvis), urgent rhythm & blues (Ike and Tina, the late, great Etta James), cooing sex kittens (Ann-Margret, Jayne Mansfield, Brigitte Bardot, Mamie Van Doren), mini-tributes to filmmakers (songs from soundtrack of Kenneth Anger’s seminal gay biker/fetish classic Scorpio Rising -- truly a film to base your life around -- and various John Waters classicks). Appropriately - considering the smut we’d all just watched – I ended things on a gynaecological note (courtesy of Andre Williams, The Cramps and Connie Vannett).
Handclapping Time - The Fabulous Raiders
Beat Party - Ritchie & The Squires
Are You Nervous? The Instrumentals
Drummin' Up a Storm - Sandy Nelson
Ain't That Lovin' You, Baby - The Earls of Suave
Comin' Home, Baby - The Delmonas
Pass The Hatchet - Roger & The Gypsies
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Boots - Nero & The Gladiators
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Jim Dandy - Ann-Margret
Born to Cry - Dion
Beat Girl - Adam Faith
Makin' Out - Jody Reynolds
L'appareil a sous - Brigitte Bardot
Boss - The Rumblers
Roll with Me, Henry - Etta James
Chicken Shack - Ike and Tina Turner
Wipe Out - The Escorts
Beat Generation - Mamie Van Doren
Intoxica - The Centurions
Let's Go Sexin' - James Intveld
Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
The Coo - Wayne Cochran
Scorpion - The Carnations
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Woman Love - Gene Vincent
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Can Your Pussy Do the Dog? The Cramps
Pussycat Song - Connie Vannett
Tittyshaker deluxe: Bettie Page embraces the spirit of ArtWank!. Musical backing: "Are You Nervous?" by The Instrumentals